8 Days Remaining
Melissa Lee-Houghton

Wednesday 17th
posted by Jody Porter in Arts

Well Versed is edited by Jody Porter

I Don’t Need A Hero, I Will Save Us All If It Comes To It
Melissa Lee-Houghton

‘I don’t believe in altruism, but if it all goes tits up call me and I’ll go steal us a jeep. You grab the whiskey and leave the rest to me.’

My ideal line of work would be being flown around in a helicopter all over the country all week as a suicide negotiator. I could just talk people down, preventing all unpreventable deaths.

Or I could be a professional mourner, I mean it; who wouldn’t want me flogging myself at their funeral?
I could make a huge display of flinging myself onto the lowering coffins of perfect strangers, and I’d

get off on being more exquisitely grief stricken than the genuinely grief stricken. You know I’m serious. Every week I hear, ‘I can never tell when you’re being serious’. Well, you at least know that

the release of bottled up laughter comes only after the long-haul of misery makes space for humour
to offer its distaste. Hilarity is not a choice we make, and neither is the inner fantasy life we embellish.

As to what I want for. Is there a word for it or not? I don’t know, but it’s past bedtime, it’s past it –
you get it all tied up in several lines, shades of prosody and deflected whim – I just keep shovelling. I just

keep crazying myself; licking your upper lip, your lower lip, your tongue, don’t move an inch,
I’m not done, I’m still licking, and biting, and nibbling, and licking and

before I know it your whole face has disappeared.
Erotomania is the delusional belief someone else loves you. What about the delusion

that you are in love if it is not a delusion it is not a delusion, is it all a delusion? –
you get shot in the spine you know about it, and I’m sorry. I suffer enough so don’t tell me,

I put most people’s despair to shame. I bet it feels great when your stubble touches the tenderest flesh, like the thigh or the cheekbone, the neck, the sole of the foot, me, my clavicle. Just get it over with,

I’ll sit here and consume it but don’t expect you to applaud – though you always could. Everything shiny
my body is so shiny, my desires are so shiny, so shiny! You can go ask the man

who just told me in Maggie’s he has a massive cock and I laughed and spat my drink; un-infatuated –
Melissa’s desires are so shiny, you need more than a massive cock I’m afraid, go ask

her psychoanalyst, even she says she’s tired of hearing about ‘bad men’, she says they’re
two-a-penny and oh it all gets so draining thinking about cocks and

I replied to the gin-addled wreck – ‘well no one falls in love with a cock do they?’
and he said, ‘love? That’s deep.’ He said he wanted my white fur-trimmed coat but then said

‘it won’t fit me I’m a size zero, love,’ and I ripped the thing open and said, ‘look at this body,
no one talks to me like that.’ And his eyes shined and he sucked on his bottom lip and said ‘I can tell…’

‘…you’re really hot…’ but I jostled my bits back to the street. Cackling to myself within – and morphine;
son I’ve got some serious beef with masculinity. I should’ve been a man, I’m the most

alpha male person in the whole of Stamford Hill. Back to soppy and deliberately wet –
if it’s any consolation it’s almost impossible to orgasm over an image of your face. Too intense

I pore over. I’ve got stamina for all things you but I must lose whole hours to ideas
too complex to really come cheap. I just start thinking too much about feelings. You can’t really have

a wank over feelings like recalling hunger, thirst, impulse, jacking up, well, I do get wet thinking about that one, I mean not many things are better than sex; but – it’s like you’re endless



Melissa Lee-Houghton (b. 1982, Manchester) published her third collection, Sunshine, in September 2016, following a book of essays An Insight Into Mental Health in Britain. She was selected as one of the Next Generation Poets by the Poetry Book Society in 2014.

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